My cat peed on my bike bag.
March 27, 2014 2:48 PM   Subscribe

How do I get cat pee out of my bike bag, and prevent kitty from a repeat job?

We've been doing some work on our house lately, and that's been causing poor little Omar (the black cat), who isn't allowed outside, to be all stressed out. He was an inappropriate pee-er as a kitten, but we've mostly trained it out of him now (he's four); however, with all the noise and strange people tromping around his house, Omar has started peeing again.

Most of the time, we can deal with it - we toss our throw rugs in the washer, no big thing. But last night, he peed on my Timbuk2 bike bag, which due to its waterproof interior, is not machine-washable. I can soap/water where he peed on it (fortunately, just the outside) well enough, but is there a better idea for washing it? Also, is there something I can use to make sure that the bike bag is something he doesn't pee on again?
posted by pdb to Pets & Animals (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Use Nature's Miracle.
posted by sweetkid at 3:01 PM on March 27, 2014 [2 favorites]

Buy an enzyme cleaner spray from a pet store (one example is Nature's Miracle) and soak the urine area. You may have to do it a number of times. I wouldn't recommend putting repellent on something that you'll be wearing or carrying around as many of them are not very pleasant smelling. Just keep it away from Omar.
posted by quince at 3:04 PM on March 27, 2014

Thirding Nature's Miracle. One of my parents' cats has *cough* issues and NM does an excellent job of making things presentable (and non-odorous) again.
posted by thomas j wise at 3:11 PM on March 27, 2014

I'd first hand wash it in a sink (the whole thing, including the interior), and see if that gets rid of the smell before trying an enzymatic cleaner.
posted by ShooBoo at 3:11 PM on March 27, 2014

Yeah, I had this when my cat peed on the outside of a travel bag. Spray it with water, brush sodium bicarbonate into it, let it dry, vacuum it out thoroughly, with the brush attachment on your vacuum hose. Repeat several times. Then do the pet cleaner.
posted by essexjan at 3:14 PM on March 27, 2014

Nothing Nature's Miracle. Do you have someplace you can hang the bag when not in use? I have had kitties climb onto shelves/tables to pee on my belongings, but I'be yet to have one scale a wall. I'd get in the habit of checking the floor and picking things up whenever you can. And checking corners every day or so. The sooner you get the enzyme stuff on the better, for just about any surface. Hope the construction end soon, for both your sakes!
posted by theweasel at 3:15 PM on March 27, 2014

Folks have the smell stuff covered, but you need to find a way to hang up your bag.
posted by oceanjesse at 3:20 PM on March 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

The best way to keep a cat from doing anything is to make doing that thing impossible. Hang up the bag or put it behind a door that latches securely.
posted by wotsac at 3:46 PM on March 27, 2014 [4 favorites]

Nthing Nature's Miracle, and I also want to say that stress can actually induce illness in cats - my 4 year old buddy currently has a bladder infection that the vet thinks is subsequent to the stress of his annual checkup. You might want to make sure he doesn't have something physical going on.
posted by something something at 4:34 PM on March 27, 2014

I've had great results with an enzymatic cleaner with the awesomely embarrassing name of "Pee-Pee."

Just wanted to point out that you definitely need to use an enzymatic cleaner even if you don't smell anything on the bag after washing it. Your cat still may be able to detect a whiff of urine scent, which will make the bag register with him as "bathroom." The enzyme stuff is your strongest chance of removing ALL odor.

please say you named him Omar because he has a scar and a personal code of justice
posted by jessicapierce at 5:00 PM on March 27, 2014 [2 favorites]

Seconding everyone on the enzyme stuff and getting the sweaty gym bag out of the way. But you have another problem: whatever is making Omar use an alternate spot as a litter area.

If you hadn't mentioned the housework going on I'd be really confused, but it seems like all the noise and commotion is making him avoid his usual box. Can the litter box be relocated for the duration of your project or perhaps add a second one where the bike bag sat?
posted by JoeZydeco at 8:08 PM on March 27, 2014

Since you appear to live right across the Columbia from it's manufacturer, and should have no trouble finding it (at a natural foods store, say) even if you don't want to order it from Amazon, I recommend Bac-out over Nature's Miracle, because in addition to enzymes, Bac-out contains living bacterial cultures that will actively seek out sources of odor and consume them, and so is likely to do a significantly more thorough job.

Also, when I was Googling for the ingredients of Nature's Miracle to confirm that it doesn't have live cultures-- and it doesn't-- I discovered a credible claim that in 2003 the name 'Nature's Miracle' was sold by it's original maker to another company, but not the actual formulation, which continues to be available, but only under the name Petastic.
posted by jamjam at 9:36 PM on March 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

Use the enzymatic cleaner FIRST. Do NOT hand wash it first. Some detergents can set the stain/odor forever.

Anecdata, but repeatable in my experience.
posted by Thistledown at 4:53 AM on March 28, 2014 [1 favorite]

There's really no way to get a cat to stop doing something that it wants to do, except to make it physically impossible. Repeating what has already been said, you need to store you bag (and anything else you don't want peed on) somewhere the cat can't get to it.
posted by DWRoelands at 5:40 AM on March 28, 2014

Get some Feliway diffusers set up around the house, this contains fractions of the facial pheromone that cats leave behind when they rub their faces against stuff. It's a form of territory marking and all cats do it. He has had his world disrupted, he's worried.

Feliway make a spray too. You use it on all the places where your cat rubs his face, at cat head height, a couple of sprays to each area every 3 days should be enough until he's happier. Pay particular attention to boundaries, places like windowsills, door ways, porches. Anywhere your cat can see the mayhem outside. He will, if you use enough of the diffusers and spray, be reassured that this is his home, it smells of him and he is safe.

One litter tray per cat plus one. If this is stress peeing, he needs several places where he can pee in safety. Avoid putting the litter trays near doorways or high traffic areas. Clean that litter every time it's used.

Make sure he has several drinking bowls of fresh water around the home too. Cats have a poor thirst drive and extra opportunities to drink can avoid inappropriate stress peeing turning into a urinary tract inflammation or infection.

As for pee in places it shouldn't be...

I have never had more success with getting rid of pee smell than using biological enzymatic washing powders. Not in the washing machine. Make up a strong solution of this, really strong, 4 or 5 times the amount you would use in a washing load. Make it up with a pint of warm water to dissolve it.

Apply liberally to your bike bag, really go for it. It will need soaking. Despite the waterproof nature of the bag, there will be microscopic gaps where even one molecule of pee will grow happily and continue the stench.

Keep this bag soaked for 3 days minimum. Then thoroughly rinse several times and let it dry properly. We are talking arid dry here. Then let it sit somewhere warm for an hour or two, sniff and if you detect the slightest whiff of piddle, it's rinse and repeat the process again.

I've used this method for years on all types of clothing, soft furnishings, wooden floors, concrete floors, lino, carpets and even a synthetic saddle for a horse (don't ask) and it is cheaper and more reliable, in my opinion than the specialist pee cleaners, and cheaper.

Some of the newer types of sports clothing wash are pretty good too.

If there's a pee smell in the interior of the bag it will show up after you have treated the outside. Try the same method on the interior. You may be able to replenish the waterproofing with something like Scotch Guard.

Your cats are beautiful and I love Omar's expression.

Best of luck!

PS: If any pee smell molecules remain, and you leave your bike outside, neighbourhood cats may well be attracted and want to over mark your bag as they will consider it an evil intruder :)
posted by Arqa at 10:26 AM on March 28, 2014

I have been using this for years:

16 oz. (2 cups) hydrogen peroxide
2 tsp. baking soda
2 small drops liquid dishwashing soap (Dawn, Palmolive, etc.)

Place all ingredients in a glass jar or bowl. Gently stir--do not beat or shake--until baking soda is dissolved.

If urine is fresh, be sure to blot up any excess urine with dry paper towels or a dry washcloth before the next step.

Pour mixture over urine spot, making sure to cover the entire spot. Allow mixture to completely soak the area being treated. Do not rub or scrub! Let sit for 24 hours without disturbing.

After 24 hours, take clean paper towels or a clean, white washcloth and blot up any remaining liquid (Again, do not rub or scrub.).

Allow area to air dry completely. If you are treating carpet, you can vacuum over the area when dry.

Makes 16 oz. (2 cups) of solution.
(test for color-safe first!)
posted by getawaysticks at 12:46 PM on March 28, 2014

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